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Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures, discussions, and conversations from area events and festivals, thanks to a remarkable collection of community partners. Click here to view the full archive. Events are recorded at no cost to the partner and archived here online; select recordings are broadcast on Aspen Public Radio Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Explore Booksellers: Chuck Collins

This event was recorded on August 2, 2023 at Explore Booksellers, in partnership with Aspen Public Radio.

Chuck Collins is director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. A descendant of meat packer Oscar Mayer, he gave away his inheritance at age 26. He is a founding board member of the Patriotic Millionaires and is an expert on U.S. wealth inequality and the racial wealth divide.

Chuck spoke at Explore about his latest book, Altar to an Erupting Sun, a near-future story of one community facing climate disruption in the critical decade ahead. Rae Kelliher is a veteran environmental activist and pioneer in the death-with-dignity movement. Facing a diagnosis of terminal illness, she engages in a shocking suicide murder, taking the life of an oil company CEO for his role in delaying responses to climate disruption. Seven years later, Rae’s friends and family gather at her Vermont farm community to try to understand her violent exit and the rapid social transformations around them. Favorable reviews on the book from Kim Stanley Robinson, Bill McKibben, Frances Moore Lappe, Tope Folarin, and Adam Hochshild.

He has also written The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions, about the wealth hiding industry, Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good and, with Bill Gates Sr., Wealth and Our Commonwealth, a case for taxing inherited fortunes. He has been interviewed on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

“With the legitimate channels of political recourse too often blocked, how one can fight for the environment must be reimagined,” explains Collins. “It will require collective action to finally break the ’OIL-Garchs' continued drilling, gaslighting, and firm hold on our political system.”